Ecclesial Communion with new Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians

Did you all see this?

Pubblichiamo il messaggio di Benedetto XVI al nuovo patriarca di Antiochia dei Siri per l’accettazione della richiesta di comunione ecclesiastica.

A Sa Béatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan
Patriarche d’Antioche des Syriens

Le message, tout empreint de profonde confiance dans le Seigneur, par lequel Votre Béatitude me fait part de son élection au siège patriarcal d’Antioche des Syriens, vient de me parvenir et me remplit de joie.
J’accueille de tout coeur, Frère bien-aimé en Jésus-Christ, votre demande de communion ecclésiastique, conformément à l’usage et au voeu de toute l’Eglise catholique. Je suis heureux, à cette occasion, de vous adresser mes chaleureuses félicitations, tout en vous assurant de ma charité fraternelle.
Que le Seigneur, Maître de l’histoire et Pasteur de l’Eglise, vous comble de ses grâces tout au long de votre nouveau ministère, pour la gloire de Dieu, la consolation des âmes confiées à votre paternelle sollicitude et le bien de l’Eglise universelle!
En vous confiant à Notre Dame de la Délivrance, je vous assure de ma prière fervente à l’Esprit Saint pour que votre mission patriarcale porte tous ses fruits.
Je vous adresse, Béatitude, un baiser très fraternel ainsi qu’à tous les membres du Saint-Synode, accordant à vous-même et à tous, Evêques, prêtres, religieux, religieuses et fidèles de votre Patriarcat, mon affectueuse Bénédiction Apostolique.
Du Vatican, le 22 Janvier 2009.


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  1. Irenaeus says:

    Mi Franzosisch no est bien — any translate the substance for me?

  2. Translation: The Church Militant is on the march!

  3. torontonian says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, this is the pope’s response to the election of a new patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church. I’m not well-versed enough in these things to know if there’s anything out of the ordinary in this letter. Is anyone else?

  4. Jason says:

    If I understand correctly, the Patriarch (and his Church) were already Catholic, and the Pope is just confirming his election, correct?

  5. RichR says:

    Translation as per Google Translate:

    Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians

    The message, full of deep trust in the Lord, Your Beatitude which makes me part of his election to the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Syrians, just send me and fills me with joy.
    I wholeheartedly, beloved brother in Christ, your request for ecclesiastical communion, according to usage and the wish of the entire Catholic Church. I am pleased on this occasion to extend my warmest congratulations, while assuring you of my brotherly love.
    May the Lord, Senior Pastor and the history of the Church, fill you with his grace throughout your new ministry, for the glory of God, the consolation of souls entrusted to your paternal care and welfare of the Universal Church!
    Entrusting you to Our Lady of Deliverance, I assure you of my fervent prayer to the Holy Spirit that your mission patriarchal fruitful.
    I address you, Beatitude, a very brotherly kiss and all the members of the Holy Synod, giving you and to all bishops, priests, religious and faithful of your Patriarchate, my affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
    From the Vatican, 22 January 2009.

  6. In the Church Militant, continued union with the See of Peter should never ever be taken for granted, not in the East, not in the West. Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia. The Church Militant rejoices, continues to rejoice, and is on the march!

  7. RC says:

    Patriarch Joseph (Younan) probably has quite a few friends in America. He founded the eparchy for Syrian-rite Catholics in the United States only a few years ago. So he has gone from that missionary see in Newark, with a handful of parishes, to leading his church on a worldwide basis.

    There is no Syrian-rite parish here in Boston, but he did travel up here to celebrate the divine liturgy for his faithful a few times at the Melkite cathedral. Right now I can look across the room at a small icon he blessed on one of those occasions. Fortunately, he knew what I wanted, despite any limitations in my high school French.

  8. Carlos Palad says:

    The Syriac Catholic Patriarchate has had a lot of troubles lately (declining membership, liturgical troubles, the Latinization debate, etc) and the former Patriarch had resigned after only a few years — hence this newest Patriarchal election.

    I would have reported on this (and on the death of the Coptic Catholic Patriarch
    Emeritus, Stephanos II Ghattas), were it not for the fact that Rorate Caeli
    is currently focusing on the unfolding saga of the SSPX and I didn’t want to
    intrude into that.

  9. Carlos Palad says:

    “If I understand correctly, the Patriarch (and his Church) were already Catholic, and the Pope is just confirming his election, correct?”

    Yes, correct.

  10. Trevor says:

    Well obviously the continued relationship with the Eastern Catholics is good. However, since I can’t read Italian, I thought they were saying that the Syrian Monophysites were returning to the Church! Imagine if that were true? Both them and the SSPX (hopefully) on the same day?!

    Oh well, I’ll take one out of two…

  11. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    What’s all the fuss about here? This obviously refers to the Syrian Catholics. The Monophysite Syrians are nowhere near reconciliation. I suspect that some thou here mistook the Syrians for the Assyrians. The Assyrians (Nestorian Schism) reached full agreement with the Holy See on doctrinal matters late in the last pontificate. It was a surprise to many, therefore, when their Patriarch refused to reverse the schism for merely politican reasons. This also surprised some of the Assyrian bishops, which is why one of them in California left his Patriarch and joined the parallel Chaldean Catholics just last year.


  12. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    For a moment, when I say the mitre on the arms, I assumed that an Anglican bishop had reached an agreement with the Holy See. . . .


  13. RC says:

    Only some of the Eastern Catholic Churches are headed by patriarchs. It is these that follow the procedure we saw today.

    The synod elects the new patriarch, and informs Rome. The election is valid, and no consent from the Pope is requested or required. The new patriarch asks to be in ecclesial communion with the Pope, and the Pope grants the request.

    For the Eastern Catholic Churches headed by a “major archbishop”, the synod elects the major archbishop. He then asks the Pope to confirm the election. When the Pope does so, there is no separate step of requesting and receiving ecclesial communion.

    Some Eastern Catholic Churches are headed by a metropolitan bishop; the Pope appoints these.

  14. RC has it right. This is SOP.

  15. PAZ says:

    The new Syrian Catholic patriarch is a great priest & bishop. His election is a cause of hope for the Syrian Catholic in the USA and in other places in the world. May the work of his hands prosper. See

  16. prof. basto says:

    Yes, that’s the Syrian Catholics. It’s the canonical procedure after the election of a new Eastern Catholic Patriarch. Yet, every Patriarchal election is news.

    According to the Code of Eastern Canons promulgated by Pope John Paul II, the Patriarchate’s Synod elects the Patriarch, and, if the elected one accepts election he is to be enthroned, at which point he aquires, by virtue of the law itself, the office of Patriarch, with no need of prior confirmation of the election from higher authority.

    But the canons prescribe that the newly enthroned Patriarch is to immediately pen a handwritten letter to the Roman Pontiff, requesting ecclesiastical communion. The Pope then replies, by granting the request.

    Before ecclesiastical communion is granted by the Holy See, the new Patriarch cannot, according to the sacred canons, ordain Bishops or convene a Synod.

  17. This is common procedure between patriarchs, and goes back well into the first millennium when patriarchs sent word of their election to each other and requested that they recognize each other within the communion of the one Church.

  18. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Looks like Vatican Youtube actually works on the weekend too! There’s already footage of this meeting online.

  19. Peter Karl T. Perkins wrote:

    The Assyrians (Nestorian Schism) reached full agreement with the Holy See on doctrinal matters late in the last pontificate. It was a surprise to many, therefore, when their Patriarch refused to reverse the schism for merely politican reasons. This also surprised some of the Assyrian bishops, which is why one of them in California left his Patriarch and joined the parallel Chaldean Catholics just last year.

    We need to keep the Assyrian Church of the East in our prayers. Their church is struggling to hang on: they don’t even have a single functioning seminary anywhere on the planet anymore. Since the 1970s, their patriarch has been based in Chicago instead of Iraq, as it was too dangerous to stay in his own land.

    Their church broke from ours in the oldest existing Christian schism (431 AD). They brought Christianity to China in the sixth and seventh centuries, and as recently as the year 1400 they were spread throughout Central Asia. But then Tamerlane deliberately tried to exterminate Christianity in Asia. Moreover, since the Orthodox and the Monophysite (“Oriental Orthodox”) churches despise the Nestorians, the Assyrian Church of the East has no friends or allies in the East. Their only real dialogue partner is Rome.

    As you say, the doctrinal disputes have been healed; they now agree that they hold the very same doctrine we profess when we call Mary “Mother of God” or “Theotokos”. But this is a church that has been split from Rome for almost sixteen centuries. The bishop in California who left was one of the leaders in the Assyrian-Catholic dialogue, but some of the other leaders in his church feared being absorbed by Rome.

    Let us pray that they move towards full union, quickly!

  20. Michael Thoma says:

    I would kindly request that my fellow Catholic refrain from calling our brothers and sister in the Oriental Churches derogatory names like “monophysite”. These Churches, such as the Armenian, Syriac, and Indian Orthodox Church are “Miaphysite” and on extremely good terms with Rome. In fact, the Armenian Patriarch is in dialogue with his Church and the Catholic Church on how union between the Churches will function. The Syriac and Indian Orthodox have inter-communion agreements with the Catholic Church, especially for interChurch marriages, funerals, and Liturgy. Lets not undermine these with outdated epithets which no longer apply.

  21. Timbot says:

    “Monophysite” is an inaccurate and loaded term whereas the actual Christology of the Oriental Orthodox is correctly called “Miaphysite” which is merely the Christology of Cyril of Alexandra, Saint and Doctor of the Church

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